Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Santa Monica noir, or Nighttime at the heister's hideaway

That's the beach in Santa Monica (all photos by your humble blogkeeper).  It is not to be confused with the icy steps I salted down when I got back home to Philadelphia this evening.  While I wallow in self-pity, here are some superlatives from the Los Angeles leg of my trip:

1) Most evocative Raymond Chandler destination: A tie between Laurel Canyon and the Baldwin Hills oilfields. Or maybe the "Lido" Pier.

2) Best place to eat: The Astro Burger at Melrose and Gower.

3) Most heartening blend of artifacts, history, pop culture, and cultural sensitivity in a museum exhibition: "Junípero Serra and the Legacies of the California Missions" at the Huntington. This exhibit on the life and work of the Spanish missionary who worked in Mexico on his way to setting up the mission system in California offers the basics about Serra's fascinating life. The man was one hell of a traveller, among other things. It also offers entertaining examples of the cultural kitsch that ensued once the missions caught the popular imagination, as well as a section on the California Indian tribes among whom Serra evangelized. Traditional history, pop culture, and cultural diversity co-exist in a harmony almost unimaginable amid the shrill, deafening, witless clamor that passes for cultural discourse in America.
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This is the motel/motor court off the Pacific Coast Highway where I'd hole up if I were a desperate man on the run for something he didn't do. Lush scenery. Cabins set back from the Pacific Coast Highway. I bet heisters waiting for the heat to cool down or for their new faces to heal have the place booked years in advance.
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And now, as sands through an hourglass, so are the days of our vacations. One good thing about being back from this trip is that I can begin planning my next one.

© Peter Rozovsky 2013

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6 Comments:

Blogger R.T. said...

As for the motel, be wary of Norman Bates.

As for the hamburger, I hope to remember your recommendation when I next visit LA.

Anti-Robot: reporting eynRLa

I think there is a pun in there somewhere about you reporting from LA.

December 18, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Google's robot or human masters certainly read all comments. That verification word is no coincidence. With its cabins, gangs of hoisters could be holed up with no inkling of one another's existence until they go silent and flatten themselves against the wall when the glimpse light under the crack of the door in a neighboring cabin.

December 18, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

Santa Monica and the Pacific Coast highway are not only my childhood haunts but also part of my present life occasionally because of my sister's residence in the Palisades. Many Northern Californians despise L.A., but it's obviously because they don't know its many pleasures.

December 19, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ah, the Palisades!

I learned on my own Santa Monica wanderings that those wonderful beachside houses, humbler than the ones above on the hillside in Raymond Chandler's time, doubtless unaffordable now, are not subject to the same ravages that similarly situated houses are back East. Piers, yes, but houses, no. That's when I devided I want to live there.

San Francisco, on the other hand, offered some of the rawer weather I have experienced at a Bouchercon. So take that, Northern California.

December 20, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

Well, the city itself isn't so storm tossed, but those houses on the Pacific Coast highway get some bruising in the rainy season with the tides. Still, there haven't been any Hurricane Sandys yet. But who knows these days where it's actually safe to live? We pays our money and we takes our chances.

December 21, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

But no flooding and no danger of being swept away, I was told: "We dob't get hurricanes." Still, my memories of the East Coast would make me leery of buying one of those houses--or one that hung too precariously from a canyon side, for that matter.

December 21, 2013  

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